Laura Neville
Senior Researcher SNSF

University of Lausanne
Institute of geography and sustainability
Mouline - Géopolis 3527
CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone +41 21 692 4359

Laura Neville


Laura is a senior researcher in the research team M3, working on the SNSF project Cultural Flagships: Pathways, Practices and Politics of a Global Urban Type.

She obtained a PhD in Geography at the University of Lausanne. Before joining IGD, she completed a MSc in Urbanisation and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Master's degree in Anthropology and Sociology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and a Bachelor's degree in Geography at the University of Lausanne. In 2012-13, she studied the final year of her Bachelor's degree at the Universidad de Chile, in Santiago. She was a visiting PhD student at the Universidad de Cartagena, Colombia and at the Centre of Latin American Studies, at the University of Cambridge, UK on a SNSF Doc.Mobility scholarship.


Her research interests are centred on urban environmental change, infrastructures of disposability and social inequalities in cities in Latin America (Colombia, Chile).

In her doctoral research, she built a reading of city-making through waste. Drawing on ethnographic research in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, she examined the ways waste socio-materialities are constitutive of urban belonging and of relational politics of place-making. By focusing on the quotidian and mundane practices with garbage of Cartagena's inhabitants, she analysed how, through bodily processes, relational politics of place-making are continuously enacted, contested and reshaped. Her research showed that Cartagena's inhabitants engage in relational politics of place-making in and through waste to circumvent the everyday conditions of violence and structures of power they inhabit and assert differing forms of urban belonging. The thesis called attention to the ways historical inequalities become intimately connected to embodied toxicities along the lines of class, race, and gender in contemporary Cartagena as its inhabitants contend with ever-evolving waste challenges.

Within the M3 research team at the IGD, she started a new project on cultural flagships in Santiago de Chile. She will build on feminist perspectives and methods to explore how cultural flagships are experienced and transformed in the everyday against past and present forms of urban violence.

In 2022-23, she was granted with Dr. Silke Oldenburg a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Agora scheme (University of Basel). The communication project titled Urban Waterworlds developed urban environmental walks with and amongst urban youth in Switzerland (Basel and Lausanne) and Colombia (Cartagena de Indias).

Before joining IGD, she explored housing policies, forms of housing for migrant populations in Santiago de Chile, and access to self-built housing in the mining city of Antofagasta in northern Chile.